I was at a party a few weeks ago, which for me means like-minded souls and I get together and become irate at the world’s apparently intractable problems, corporate behemoth uber-un-accountability, slavery, feminism v classism and is it a competitive or complementary relationship, intersectional discrimination, environmental hell, and other light-hearted subjects.  Obviously, we blame everybody but ourselves.

During one of these wine-fuelled if I ran the world people would all just love each other and be happy sessions, in a moment of fairly ironic hypocrisy someone pulled out their iPhone and tuned me in to a quiz with some particularly insightful results.  I pulled out my iPhone – for I am nothing if not a  champagne socialist – to give the quiz a whirl.

The quiz lives at Political Compass and here is a quote from the website:

The old one-dimensional categories of ‘right’ and ‘left’ […] are overly simplistic for today’s complex political landscape. For example, who are the ‘conservatives’ in today’s Russia? Are they the unreconstructed Stalinists, or the reformers who have adopted the right-wing views of conservatives like Margaret Thatcher ?
On the standard left-right scale, how do you distinguish leftists like Stalin and Gandhi? It’s not sufficient to say that Stalin was simply more left than Gandhi. There are fundamental political differences between them that the old categories on their own can’t explain. Similarly, we generally describe social reactionaries as ‘right-wingers’, yet that leaves left-wing reactionaries like Robert Mugabe and Pol Pot off the hook.

The test plots your politics not on one linear ‘left/right’ line, but in a quadrant that accounts for the distinctions between social and economic political liberalism or authoritarianism.  Or something.  So:

If we recognise that [the left-right line] is essentially an economic line it’s fine, as far as it goes. We can show, for example, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and Pol Pot, with their commitment to a totally controlled economy, on the hard left. Socialists like Mahatma Gandhi and Robert Mugabe would occupy a less extreme leftist position. Margaret Thatcher would be well over to the right, but further right still would be someone like that ultimate free marketeer, General Pinochet.

That deals with economics, but the social dimension is also important in politics. That’s the one that the mere left-right scale doesn’t adequately address. So we’ve added one, ranging in positions from extreme authoritarian to extreme libertarian.

That line goes vertically from top to bottom, resulting in a diagram divided into four quadrants:


The thought occurs that you readers probably came across this test years ago, but it’s new to me and I’m soldiering on.

There is far more information on the website, but as we know, when attention spans wane it is time to introduce FAMOUS PEOPLE.  That’s right. Here’s where they plot on the graph:


At this point I’m thinking that it’s no wonder I firmly believe the world is royally screwed up – it seems that many of our leaders reside in the upper right hand part of the upper right hand quadrant. In common with lots of world leaders, I have studied both law and political science (specifically, human rights) and I continue to be amazed that folks who must have read the same weighty tomes of convincing left-wing libertarian thoughts of a bundle of eminent thinkers can consistently spew such right-wing ill-thought-through downright-mean old clap-trap.

Ed Milliband is the son of a full-blown Marxist and known as Red Ed in the UK for his astonishingly left-wing position on many policy areas. Yet there he is, in the upper right quadrant.  I’m not even going to comment on the inclusion of Mitt Romney, because it hurts me to think about him for the length of time required to formulate the violent expletives warranted.

So I took the quiz and wondered where I would come out.  And the answer is:



That was a surprise even to me.  It’s no wonder I spend such a hefty dollop of time getting righteously pissed off at The State of Things.

Am I such an outlier? Not based on the self-selecting sample of folk at the party – I found one person whose dot was so far over to the left the graph wasn’t big enough to accommodate his views, and someone else who was just slightly more to the right and up.  Even K-man (and I say this with fondness) sits in the lower left quadrant.

If you are inclined to spend the five minutes to take the test and tell me the results, I would be interested to find out where your dot lands on this chart.  No judgment, no authoritarianism, nothing but curiosity.  I think left is best, but that’s because that’s what I am.


8 Responses to “Extreme”

  1. 1 Cassi January 10, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Well, that was interesting. (I can’t see your figures, by the way, but it may just be my browser or something.) I’m about as far left as Gandhi, but quite a bit farther south, toward the Libertarian end of things :-)

  2. 2 Jen January 11, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Apparently, Gandhi and I are twinsies, as we came out in the same spot.

  3. 3 Jenn @ Juggling Life January 16, 2013 at 5:20 am

    I can’t see any of your images, but I’m Left and Libertarian both at about -5.9. I am more Libertarian than I thought–probably cause I really don’t see how what people do in their own bedroom is my business.

  4. 4 Jonathan February 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I always find myself sitting on the fence, so having a particular “place” where I might find myself marked on a graph is interesting – except of course I’m wondering how I might subvert the graph and get myself placed somewhere incorrect on purpose :)

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